V11n2a00 3967 eng




Rosalda paim: a nurse before her time



Enéas Rangel Teixeira1, Donizete Vago Daher2, Rosimere Ferreira Santana3, Thais Cordeiro Fonseca4

1,2,3,4Fluminense Federal University

This is the biography of the nurse, educator, professor, researcher and state deputy, Rosalda Cruz Nogueira Paim. AIM: The aim is to describe the personal and professional trajectory of this nurse who greatly contributed to the fluminense and to Brazilian nursing. METHOD: This is a historical and social narrative study. RESULTS: Description of the facts and the phenomena of the biography in an analytical, contextual and thematic course. DISCUSSION: The data are presented by themes: personal and professional trajectory: a personal and professional development guided by dedication to health and nursing; in defense of a broad social and political project: in defense of life; the title of emeritus professor: professional recognition; theoretical contributions: the systemism is a theory which established a new way of thinking and engaging in health and nursing. CONCLUSION: Paim created a model of methodological and theoretical systematization for Brazilian nursing which had an impact on health in particular and society in general.
Keywords: Biography. Nursing Theory. Nursing Care


The uniqueness of a multiple professional

This is a biographical study of the nurse, educator, professor, researcher and ex-state deputy, Dr. Rosalda Cruz Nogueira Paim, which emphasizes her important role in building the scientific field of Brazilian nursing, as well as her commitment to health, education, nursing, and political representation. For nursing, as a science and profession, stands out due to her unique theoretical and methodological building of care systematization.

This construction is linked to a broader view of health, also performed by other professionals in the 1970s, which Paim named the holistic paradigm(1) delineating, thus, the theoretical and conceptual basis from her systemic and ecological theories. Her work presented a theoretical break with the then current public health policy guided by the curative, technical and individual paradigm. She expounded a model of the social needs of health, expanding the vision of nursing for the different levels of health care, incorporating an interdisciplinary, ecological and systemic perspective.

The set-up of her work is a step forward for health and nursing when she talks about systemism, ecology and cybernetics, currently referred to as essential, ecological and complex care.

From this perspective, the objective is to describe the personal and professional trajectory of Rosalda Paim. It is a history-social narrative in which the description of the facts and biographical phenomena is contextual and thematic, being information generated from printed and online references that relate to this study(2). Thus, the biographical description follows the following themes: personal and professional trajectory: a personal and professional development guided by dedication to health and nursing; in defense of a broad social and political project: in defense of life; the title of emeritus professor: professional recognition; theoretical contributions: systemism as a theory which established a new way of thinking and engaging in health and nursing.


Personal and professional trajectory: a personal and professional development guided by dedication to health and nursing

Paim was born in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo State, on August 26, 1928, daughter of Valeriano Rodrigues da Cruz and Lindaura Evangelista Cross.

In 1950, she graduated from the Nursing School of the State of Rio de Janeiro, currently known as Aurora de Afonso Costa Nursing School (EEAAC/UFF). She completed the course of Bachelor of Pedagogy in 1956 and graduated from the same course at the Philosophy and Human Sciences Institute of the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) in 1957.

She specialized in the areas of pediatrics, public health and hospital administration. She obtained the Master of Education from the Faculty of Education at UFF and her doctorate in 1974 in Maternal-Child Nursing, defending her habilitation thesis at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro(3).

She was a professor in the Maternal and Child Nursing Department of EEAAC of UFF, where she was departmental head. She developed activities as a professor in various disciplines, highlighting the maternal and child area, public health and research methodology. She was greatly involved in the institutional activities of the UFF, highlighting the work of the University Council. She also conducted several research and outreach projects, highlighting the creation of the Primary Care and Education and Health Center (NAPES) at Federal Fluminense University and the Foundation of a nursery, which today bears her name, located in the downtown of Niterói, RJ, serving the communities of the Morro do Arroz and the Morro da Chácara.

While working in the maternal and child health area, she theorized about childhood as a stage of human development that needs to be considered a phenomenon in itself, belonging to the child and not just as a transitional phase(4). She expanded this vision to the health of the teenager, women and the elderly.

In the 1990s, she brought together a group of teachers who initiated discussions which led to the proposed creation of the Masters program of the Aurora de Afonso Costa Nursing School of UFF, as part of the process of creating the academic Master of Health Care Science from the same institution.

A broad overview in terms of the production of research knowledge in the area of health and nursing is expressed in her work. The work of Paim spread through nursing and beyond, into education, ecology, health planning and social assistance, and the partnering of the state and the nation.

She married Edson Paim, dentist, doctor, retired professor of UFF, militancy and theoretical production partner, who, in addition, proved to be a great companion for over 60 years. Edson Paim served in the ”foundation of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT), and was Member of the Regional Directorate of Rio de Janeiro and Vice-President of the 2nd Electoral Area of Municipality of Rio de Janeiro."(5)

Rosalda Paim, a woman devoted to family, human, sensitive, spirituous and generous, was always firm in her convictions and positions.

Besides being a nurse, educator, professor, researcher and deputy, she was, above all, one of a unique group of women in nursing, health and society. Finally, she was a great personality, visionary, political activist, and an advocate for public health and nursing care in the different cycles of life.

We had the opportunity to live with Professor Rosalda in the academy, working and developing research projects(3,6,7). We watched her constant investment in social causes, equity and quality of health. While acting as a fellow worker, her positioning was firm, human and unifying. Rosalda used to say that "Everything that is too radical does not help", increasing, thereby, the possibilities of trans-disciplinary dialogues on health.


In defense of a broad social and political project: in defense of life

Rosalda Paim had a political stance associated with her view of life, health and society, which included nursing as a science, art and profession.

She positioned herself for democracy and human rights during the military dictatorship, and was sometimes coerced. In one of her many reports, she told us the fact that her home had been raided by agents of the totalitarian regime, and her books was removed because they were considered subversive.

She actively participated in the Foundation of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT) in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, and was one of those responsible for the democratization process of the public health services in the 1980s, participating in the municipal health pre-conference and conferences.

Her greatest political expression emerged during her time as the first parliamentary nurse in Brazil from 1983 to 1987. She created more than 20 law projects aimed at the health and social area, among which are the following: the prohibition of remuneration for blood donations; the creation of the nursery state system; elderly person day care; the creation of the teenage health service; the creation of compulsory installation of community councils in health, state, education and social services units; and others.(5: 7)

Because we have detailed the legal projects of Deputy Paim over time, we can observe her hard and continuous effort in enacting laws that contribute to the needs of the social minorities and those which led to visible achievements for nursing and health.

During her tenure, by highlighting the legal projects that cover health, education and culture, we demonstrate her political activities in terms of the ecological and systemic view that she advocated.

In the public health area, she created a law project which prohibited the advertising and marketing of blood donations. She also created a coordinating committee for sanitation, for the sanitary inspection of food and the institutionalization of a hospital infection commission, confirming her broad vision of health and her ethical commitment and citizenship(8.9).

In terms of her attention to care about the human life cycle, it includes the provision for the establishment of rooming-in municipal and state maternity homes, and the creation of a health service geared for teenagers. She also worked to establish the elderly person day care and the family planning state program, besides chairing the Health and Education Commission of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro(8, 9).

In relation to social and political action, we highlight her integration into the Drafting Commission of the Status of Women, and her appointment by the President of the Republic of José Sarney to the position of Vice President of the Interstate Parliamentary Union(5).

In the transportation area, she provided for free travel on buses and boats for members of the armed forces, as well as the installation of a bottom rung on the buses of the State of Rio de Janeiro in order to facilitate the mobility of the population.

In the cultural area, she set up activities like festivals of culture in the civic and cultural calendar of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and created the Artisan Development program of the State of Rio de Janeiro(8.9).

In education, she created and named several state and local educational institutions focused on full public education, as well creating the law with regard to the state system relating to nurseries. What also stands out is the institutionalization of the commemoration of the World Day of Peace in state schools, a fact that leads us to the thoughts of Edgar Morin, advocating education for peace and not for war(10).


The title of emeritus professor: professional recognition

Among the tributes provided by EEAAC/UFF, we highlight the name given to the main auditorium of the institution - the "Rosalda Paim Auditorium", the title of Emeritus Professor by the Rector of UFF; the establishment of the Rosalda Paim Study and Research Week; and the various tributes provided during the scientific events of the EEAAC.

The sports stadium in the city of Anastácio, in Mato Grosso do Sul, was named the "Rosalda Paim Stadium." In Niterói, the Rosalda Paim Municipal Nursery is located downtown, in front of the Nursing School. In fact, the name of Rosalda Paim has definitely become part of the fluminense culture, giving a political and social dimension to her work.

Paim identified herself as a nurse and had a comprehensive view of health, a characteristic that permeates both the joint interdisciplinarity of her projects and actions, as well as her care, and for her transdisciplinary attitude to society and life.

On May 25, 1995, she should have received the honorary citizenship of the State of Rio de Janeiro, granted by the Legislature(5:8). But, due to personal problems, this title was only delivered on May 15, 2012 by state deputy Rejane de Almeida, in the Auditorium of EEAAC/UFF.

She also received the title of citizen of the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Duque de Caxias, Niterói and Italva in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and Anastácio, in Mato Grosso do Sul, assigned by the respective City councils (5:8).

She participated in several conferences as a rapporteur, fronting the I Brazilian Symposium of Nursing Theories, held from 20 to 24 May 1985, in which her research entitled the Systemic Theory of Nursing also has had a great impact on Brazilian Nursing(11).


Theoretical contributions: systemism as a theory which established a new way of thinking and engaging in health and nursing

Her Ecological and Systemic Theory, dating from 1974, was initially advocated as a doctoral thesis in the Systemic Theory of Nursing at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro. Her reflections were anchored by the systemic model of Mario Chaves(12).

In 1978, she defined the Systemic Theory of Nursing, which aims to overcome the curative and hospital-centered view in favor of the systemic and ecological model. In this sense, she resizes the conception of care focused on basic human needs of the clients for health global needs, considering the environment, based on a systemic cybernetic and ecological model.

Among the many articles and books she wrote is included Nursing Problems and Centered Therapy in Patient Needs; Scientific Methodology of Nursing; and a Paradigm for Nursing(3). In the latter she explains the systematization of nursing care, based on a systemic ecological and cybernetic model. Thus, even before discussing the integrality of health and humanization care issues, Paim and Paim had already presented proposals for paradigm changes in health and nursing. They had a vision of inter and transdisciplinary health, but maintained the zeal, proximity and specificity of nursing and its social and political relevance. This insight into the practice of nursing also guides the thinking and actions of nurses who have built partnerships with Rosalda Paim. This is the case of the idealistic nurse, Sidênia Alves Sidrião, who, known for her integrity in politics and respected by large numbers of students, teachers and administrative personnel in the university community, corroborates the fact that militancy, political force and dynamic ideals also mark the nursing trajectory(13).

The keynote of the systemic, ecological, cybernetic and informational view developed by Paim and Paim, when applied to health care, would be the consideration for the body as part of the human system (person, family, community, society) to be assisted or cared for, to cover its immediate or closer environment.

The keynote of systemic, ecological, cybernetic and informational developed by Paim and Paim, when applied to health care, would be the expansion of body space of human system (person, family, community, society) assisted or cared for, to cover their immediate environment or nearby.

Rosalda Paim contributed to the theoretical advancement of postmodern concepts applied to health and nursing while still promoting the curative paradigm centered on the doctor and his actions, disregarding the possible relationship between man and environment.


A professional before her time 

The professional trajectory of Rosalda Paim is guided by theoretical, social and political events from the turn of the XX Century to XXI Century in Brazil and the State of Rio de Janeiro, so that she had a role in the modernization process of Brazilian nursing, in the education of nurses and health professionals, in the democratization of Brazil and in the paradigm change in health care.

The biography of Paim contextualizes itself in the period that includes the developmental phase of Brazil, a period of grassroots social movements and dictatorship, when there were social achievements in health and a democratization process throughout the country. At that time, Paim had an effective political participation, culminating in her election as state deputy, when she created several social projects.

Opposed to the curative, technical medical model and bodies medicine, Paim proposed a systemic, cybernetic and ecological model of health care, and created an inter and transdisciplinary theory and methodology of nursing care which is consistent with the principles of Unified Health System. Therefore, the thinking of Paim has always been before her time; it is current and provides a firm grasp of essential, ecological and systemic care.

Concerning specificity to the nursing field, envisioned care systematization focused on the global needs in terms of health and featured contributions for planning and intervention with regard to health in a scientific, human and holistic way. Therefore, the work and actions of this nurse relate intimately to health and to Brazilian nursing and, therefore, she deserves our recognition and remembrance.




1. Paim RCN. Um paradigma para a Enfermagem - Teoria Sistêmico-Ecológica. Rio de Janeiro: CDB - Gráfica & Editora; 1991.

2. Azevedo J, Carvalho V, Gomes M. Waleska Paixão: uma biografia a serviço da enfermagem brasileira. Esc Anna Nery Rev Enferm. 2009; 13(1): 31-35.

3. Paim RCN. Metodologia Científica e Enfermagem. Rio de Janeiro: Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC); 1974.

4. Paim RCN. Problemas de Enfermagem e Terapia Centrada nas Necessidades Paciente. Rio de Janeiro: Luna; 1978.

5. Paim E, Paim RCN. Sistemismo Ecológico Cibernético e Informacional: um paradigma holístico. Varginha: GE Sul Mineira; 2004.

6. Paim RCN. Metodologia Científica em Enfermagem. Rio de Janeiro: Editora do Autor; 1980.

7. Paim RCN. Metodologia. Rio de Janeiro: Espaço e Tempo; 1986.

8. Blog do Paim [homepage in the Internet]. Rosalda Paim. [cited 2011 apr 15]. Available from: http://rosaldaparlamentar.blogspot.com/2007/10/rosalda-paim-1114-1987-determina.html.

9. Blog do Paim [homepage in the Internet]. Rosalda Paim. [cited 2011 apr 15]. Available from: http://sistemismoecolgico.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html. 2009.

10. Morin E. Introdução ao Pensamento Complexo. São Paulo: Sulina; 2005.

11. Anais do 1. Simpósio Brasileiro de Teorias de Enfermagem; Florianópolis: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina; 1985.

12. Chaves M. Saúde e Sistemas. Rio de Janeiro: FGV; 1972.

13. Abrahão  AL, Daher DV, Santos NTP. Uma vida, uma história, uma enfermeira: Sidênia Alves Sidrão de Alencar Mendes. Online braz j nurs [serial on the Internet]. 2012 Apr [cited 2012 Jul 03] 11(1). Available from: http://www.objnursing.uff.br/index.php/nursing/article/view/3748.



Enéas Rangel Teixeira –Participation as an editor and reviewer. Donizete Vago Daher – Participation on literature review and thematic organization. Rosimere Ferreira Santana –Participation on literature review. Thais Cordeiro Fonseca –Participation on textual organization, update and data input and processing of submission.


Received: 18/07/2012
Approved: 01/08/2012